Beginning (2017): David Eldridge

Beginning

★★★★½

(National Theatre at the Ambassador’s Theatre, 30 January 2018)

When I go to the theatre, more often than not I see something classical: a play where the characters speak poetry rather than prose, usually in iambic pentameter. There is a clear division between the real world and the fictional world on stage, no matter how good the actors are. Not so here. For my birthday, J nudged me out of my comfort zone by taking me to David Eldridge’s play, which has already enjoyed great critical success at the National Theatre, and made its West End transfer to the Ambassador’s Theatre in mid-January. Wow. This wasn’t theatre: this was life, flayed and placed under the microscope. With no interval and only two actors, it’s probing, insightful and frequently excruciating: a merciless, yet strangely tender exposé of modern romance.

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Henry VI: Parts 1, 2 and 3

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

Shakespeare fans rejoice! As part of the Bard’s 400th birthday celebrations, the BBC have embarked on the second cycle of their dramatisations of the history plays. Back in 2012 we had Henry IV and Henry V with Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston at the helm and now we embark on the most tumultuous and bloody period of British history: the Wars of the Roses. With three parts of the lesser-known Henry VI condensed into two episodes, the present cycle will round off in style with Richard III. As I did last time with Henry IV, I’ll write about both parts of Henry VI here and Richard will get his own post. And so, to steal shamelessly from another play, once more unto the breach…

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King Lear: William Shakespeare

King Lear: Shakespeare

★★★

(National Theatre, London, until 2 July 2014)

I’ve been rather blown away by the reaction to my post on The Crucible and am only glad that so many people enjoyed it and found it useful. The secret to successful blogging, clearly, is to name-drop Richard Armitage as often as possible. However, in lieu of any other opportunities to do so, I wanted to write about another of the plays I’ve seen recently: the National’s production of King Lear (directed by Sam Mendes), which is almost at the end of its run.

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